Data Center Cooling Systems & How They Work
Why is Data Center Cooling Important?The vast network of servers and computing resources stored in data centers are the backbone of every digital service. They deliver the performance and availability needed for business operations and are responsible for performing search queries, transferring data, and delivering computing services to millions of users at a given moment across the globe. If you consider how much power and heat are generated by millions of users at any given moment across the globe, it’s clear that data center cooling is integral to empowering the digital world. Failing to implement effective methods can lead to overheating, which degrades the performance capabilities and lifespan of computing equipment and servers.
How Does Data Center Cooling Work?Data center cooling works by removing excess heat in the air and replacing it with cooler air. Cooling systems control the temperature inside data centers to reduce heat and manage airflow. They regulate parameters, such as temperatures, cooling performance, energy consumption, and cooling fluid properties to name a few, in guiding the flow of heat and cooling to achieve optimum efficiency.
Data Center Cooling MethodsThe two main types of data center cooling technologies consist of air cooling and liquid cooling. Below, we’ll outline how these systems work and their features.
Air CoolingData centers have been using this cooling method since their inception and continue to use it extensively. The basic concept involves cold air being circulated or blown across the hardware, dispersing the heat by exchanging the warmer air with cooler air. Air cooling technologies have evolved throughout the years, but the principle remains the same. The key difference between air cooling systems is how airflow is controlled. Some air-cooling technologies include raised floor platforms, cold/hot aisle containment, and temperature/humidity control. While this method is more widely used, it presents significant challenges in terms of cost-efficiency, computing performance, and environmental impact as data center usage continues to grow.
Two-Phase Liquid Immersion CoolingThis relatively newer method involves transferring heat generated by server chips into dielectric fluid that is constantly cooled and recirculated. Servers are immersed in an engineered fluorocarbon-based liquid. When the chips in the servers generate heat, the heat turns the fluid to vapor. The vapor then rises in the tank, carrying the heat to the top where the condenser coils are located. The condenser coils cool the gas, condensing it back into a chilled liquid state, and the cycle begins anew. This is a more efficient means of data center cooling and can support larger equipment densities as well as equipment that generates higher-than-average heat, like high-density and edge computing. It’s also more cost-effective than traditional air-cooling systems and uses less energy.
Environmental Impact of Data Center CoolingOur digital world is responsible for 2.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for roughly 2% of the world’s electricity consumption and 0.5% of CO2 emissions. Within data centers themselves, 50% of all power used is spent on cooling systems. These statistics will only increase, presenting a significant challenge to the pressing issue of sustainability. As a global collective, technology companies must actively work to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. When data centers are cooled quickly and efficiently, servers can run at peak performance. Proper cooling also preserves the lifespan of technology, reducing the need for frequent replacement due to overheating malfunctions.
The Future of Data Center CoolingEffective and sustainable data center cooling solutions are the key to the growth and maintenance of our digital world. While there are a wide range of ways to cool data centers, two-phase immersion cooling presents a solution to many challenges that still face the industry. TMGcore, the home of immersion computing, offers off-the-shelf and customized solutions that require less electricity and can reduce your carbon footprint. Are you ready for immersion cooling? Call us or schedule a demo today
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